WINCHESTER’S annual festival of cycling returns this weekend – and organisers say it will be bigger than ever before.

Winchester Criterium and CycleFest is back for its sixth year on Sunday, supported again by headline sponsors Hargroves Cycles.

There will be a hosts of activities for both spectators and cyclist across the day, with the Criterium race, regarded as one of best, taking place in the heart of the historic city centre.

Riders will start at the top of the High Street, turn left on to St Thomas Street, wind their way past the Cathedral, past the city council offices and turn left from Colebrook Street for the long uphill drag to the start/finish line.

There will also be a family ride to mark the start of the festival at 9.45am in The Broadway. There will be new activities and stalls on The Broadway and Abbey Gardens, ranging from Hargroves Cycles ‘roller racing’ to arts and crafts and face painting.

Amanda Ford, head of sport and physical activity at Winchester City Council, said: “We’re really pleased to be hosting the Winchester Criterium and CycleFest for the sixth year. Developed from the London Olympic Legacy, we are delighted that it has grown into a well recognised event by riders and our local communities.”

Andy Hargroves, from Hargroves Cycles, based on the Winchester Trade Park, added: “We are thrilled to be part of this fantastic event again. It is a special one for us as it presents an opportunity to engage with families and to encourage cycling and healthy living.”

  • For those trying to navigate around the city on Sunday, there will be a number of road closures between 5am and 10pm: The Broadway, High Street, St Thomas Street, Kings Head Yard, Little Minster Street, Great Minster Street, The Square, Market Lane and Market Street.